By Sagar S Dec. 05, 2018
Priyanka Chopra, an anti-pollution campaigner and lover of animals, is in the internet doghouse for her wedding that featured fireworks and an elephant. But what is the point of celebrity endorsements, anyway? Does anyone take them seriously? How many people saw that damn Manyavar ad and decided to get married?
The hottest East-meets-West mash-up since the Colonial Cousins, Nickyanka, has landed in a spot of bother. A day after the fairytale wedding in Jodhpur, a number of observers were quick to notice fireworks going off in the background, and instantly took to the internet to call out Priyanka Chopra on the grave offence.
This whole situation, of course, would not have been an issue normally – considering Indians at weddings aren’t worried as much about pollution as they are about how much gulab jamun the hosts ordered. It did, however, blow up, because of a big pharma ad Priyanka Chopra had shot a few years earlier. In it, she asks that we help make her “breath unstoppable”, and talks about the woes asthma patients like her face, every time Diwali comes around. She even made a mention of the suffering of poor animals… And they say nothing good came out Dostana.
Unfortunately, just a day after the whole fireworks storm, which Priyanka presumably didn’t smell from her bubble, PETA put Priyanka Chopra in the doghouse for her decision to have both an elephant and a horse at her Jodhpur wedding gala. Poor Piggy Chops. She probably thought the presence of these animals would convey to her white partner that he was about to marry an exotic woman – she would be the Pocahontas to his John Smith, or the Mindy Kaling to his BJ Novak. But PETA disagreed with all of that. They thought it was pretty uncool for the couple to ride an elephant around the courtyard while everyone was busy watching Sansa Stark dancing to “Desi Girl”.
"Shraddha Kapoor called out a bunch of people for body-shaming pictures of Marilyn Monroe last year while she continues to be the face of a green tea product that promises to exclusively remove “belly fat”"
Meanwhile, Priyanka might not remember making a passionate appeal to save the tiger a couple of years earlier, but the internet featuring Aircel mobile does. Now you could watch that and say, “Hey maybe she does really care about large animals, and calling the elephant to the reception was an honest mistake.” But you’d then be reminded that she also wore a fur coat to New York fashion week this one time. Okay maybe she didn’t mean to do that one either – maybe she was just trying to say “phir” in her new accent at the mall and ended up walking out with a jacket.
But at this point, while everyone tries to figure out “who wore what where?”, it’s pretty fair to ask, what is the entire point of these celebrity endorsements? Does anyone take them seriously? How many people saw that damn Manyavar ad and decided to get married? Sometimes it seems like this whole system exists so that a group of executives can sit in a circle, make a few grunting sounds, and go home with a suitcase of money for an early lunch.
Priyanka Chopra is far from the first celebrity to completely forget what their views on things are. Shraddha Kapoor called out a bunch of people for body-shaming pictures of Marilyn Monroe last year while she continues to be the face of a green tea product that promises to exclusively remove “belly fat,” while also tasting like ass. Amitabh Bachchan was called out earlier this year for endorsing Horlicks, otherwise known as obesity for kids, to “fight malnutrition”.
Then there was Shah Rukh Khan, who was asked during an interview how he could continue to endorse fairness cream brands when he has acted in a movie about loving south Indian people and their skin. His response was simple, “I’ll endorse anything that’s legal,” which is a great thing to say when you’re running for Supreme Court judge, but is not really an answer to the question.
The real answer is probably well known by this point – celebrities don’t actually give a shit about what they endorse. They’d probably endorse ingestible cancer if it came in a cute enough box. And it’s not all their fault. Ad agencies do sometimes go a little overboard trying to tug at the heartstrings, with their typically OTT motif: “Did you light a candle today? Oops you accidentally ASPHYXIATED Quantico actress Priyanka Chopra!” “Did you just give birth to a dark-skinned kid? OMG, it just offended John Abraham in a nightclub!!”
Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe it would help a bit if ads involving celebrity endorsements just decided to be a little more honest, and less preachy. Imagine Priyanka Chopra sitting on a white couch with a cheque in her hand saying, “Please don’t burst firecrackers and also buy this medicine so I can encash this cheque,” or SRK revealing at the end of a fairness cream ad that he’s been a low-key white supremacist all along. Honestly, that seems like it would leave a much larger impact. That way, no one would end up putting on a cream to look like a bad photoshop of Katrina Kaif, and no celebrity would be accused of being fake. Win-win.
Sagar has lived in Mumbai for most of his life. You can often find him complaining about potholes and local trains when he isn't out having a mediocre time.